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24      MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE

With the exception of Chiang Kaishek and T. V, Soong, th<
Chinese leaders do not "work like a horse"; they simply
work like civilized human beings, where life is regarded as
not worth the bother of too much human effort, and eventually
if Chiang Kaishek and T. V. Soong come out on top, it will be
just on account of their greater stamina and capacity for
drudgery. It was T. V* Soong who, using a Chinese idiom,
announced that he was "as strong as an ox" when he resigned,
and failed to give diabetes or hardened liver or tired nerves
for his political resignation, which all the rest of the Chinese
officials unashamedly do. A list of the physical and mental
ailments, from wrecked stomachs and overworked kidneys to
shattered nerves and muddled heads, publicly announced by
the officials during their political sicknesses, most of which are
genuine, would cover all the departments and wards of a
modern hospital.

With the exception of the late Sun Yatsen, the Chinese
leaders, first-rate scholars all, do not keep up their reading and
do not write. A work like Trotzky's autobiography by a
Chinese leader is simply unimaginable, and even a manifestly
lucrative first-class biography of Sun Yatsen has not yet been
written by a Chinese, almost a decade after the great leader's
death, nor are there adequate biographies of Tseng Kuofan or
Li Hungchang or Yuan Shihkai.

It seems the sipping of tea in the yamen and the interminable
talking and eating of melon seeds at home have consumed all
our scholars' time. Facts like these explain why gem-like verses,
dainty essays, short prefaces to friends' works, funeral sketches
of friends' lives and brief descriptions of travels comprise the
works of ninety-five per cent of the famous Chinese authors.
When one cannot be powerful, one must choose to be dainty,
and when one cannot be aggressive, one has to make a virtue
of reasonableness. Only once in a while do we meet a Sstima
Ch'ien or a Cheng Ch'iao or a Ku Yenwu, whose prodigious
labours suggest to us the indefatigable bodily energy of a
Balzac or a Victor Hugo. That is what two thousand years of
kowtowing could do to a nation.

A study of the hair and skin of the people also seems to
indicate what must be considered results of millenniums of